Freely Distributed / Open Source Films

Etewaf

Active Member
Searched these terms and other variations and couldn't find any similar threads, so forgive me if I missed them.


Lately I've been looking for interesting open source films, or films that are released exclusively over the internet. Aside from fan films, these are kind of hard to find. Mainly I've been in search of some cool sci-fi or fantasy type stuff. Something with neat costumes and props, in other words.

So far I haven't found anything quite like that. But I have run across a few cool ones.

One is a series called Pioneer One, about a Russian space craft that crash lands and grabs the attention of Homeland Security.
PIONEER ONE an original dramatic series for VODO.

The others are from the Blender Foundation. Sintel, and Elephants Dream. Very cool animated shorts.

The problem I've found with this freely distributed stuff is that releases are far and few between, and they are often very short, nothing feature length. I've got to give them credit though, because what they end up with is very impressive considering they are only working off small donations or an equally small budget.



Anyway, have you guys found any impressive online films/shows?

Do you think these can ever compete alongside the big guys?

I think the fact that they know how to use the internet to effectively advertise and distribute their work is a huge advantage considering the big studios still haven't figured out how to do it right, and are still resisting the change.

The only real obstacles for the independent creators are the budget and exposure to the general public. This stuff takes time and money, and it's time and money wasted if the only people who see it are the kind of people who are looking for it.
Technology isn't a problem anymore because of how advanced home computers are, the special effects are on par with the big guys, and they tend to use it sparingly, something that is rare these days, which I think people appreciate.

Anyway, post any interesting free films here, and feel free to discuss the topic in general.
 
Searched these terms and other variations and couldn't find any similar threads, so forgive me if I missed them.


Lately I've been looking for interesting open source films, or films that are released exclusively over the internet. Aside from fan films, these are kind of hard to find. Mainly I've been in search of some cool sci-fi or fantasy type stuff. Something with neat costumes and props, in other words.

So far I haven't found anything quite like that. But I have run across a few cool ones.

One is a series called Pioneer One, about a Russian space craft that crash lands and grabs the attention of Homeland Security.
PIONEER ONE an original dramatic series for VODO.

The others are from the Blender Foundation. Sintel, and Elephants Dream. Very cool animated shorts.

The problem I've found with this freely distributed stuff is that releases are far and few between, and they are often very short, nothing feature length. I've got to give them credit though, because what they end up with is very impressive considering they are only working off small donations or an equally small budget.



Anyway, have you guys found any impressive online films/shows?

Do you think these can ever compete alongside the big guys?

I think the fact that they know how to use the internet to effectively advertise and distribute their work is a huge advantage considering the big studios still haven't figured out how to do it right, and are still resisting the change.

The only real obstacles for the independent creators are the budget and exposure to the general public. This stuff takes time and money, and it's time and money wasted if the only people who see it are the kind of people who are looking for it.
Technology isn't a problem anymore because of how advanced home computers are, the special effects are on par with the big guys, and they tend to use it sparingly, something that is rare these days, which I think people appreciate.

Anyway, post any interesting free films here, and feel free to discuss the topic in general.

What about the funding? How would a free fantasy/sci-fi film cover it's costs?
 
Yeah, I mentioned the budget being one of the obstacles, it's a problem I don't necessarily have a solution for, but with careful planning and a bit of creativity it wouldn't be all that difficult to pull off with a small budget.
My reasoning for this I guess is that Youtube is littered with Star Wars fanfilms. If looking at these boards has shown me anything it's that a lot can be done with very little, and seeing some of those films is proof. It depends on what they would want to pull off, I guess. Creating a lightsaber and some quick, but respectable Jedi gear shouldn't cost much. A bounty hunter character can be assembled for near the same if they aren't heavily armored. Then all that is left is their experience with special effects software. Obviously, if they would want droids, several storm troopers, and a screen accurate Boba Fett, it'd cost quite a bit more.

But that's the good thing about an original film, you don't have to conform to anyone elses creation, it's all coming from your own imagination and you can use what materials you have. A large budget would be a luxury, giving the creators some peace of mind and flexibility, but everything else is just a matter of creativity.
 
Lately I've been looking for interesting open source films, or films that are released exclusively over the internet.

Sony/Crackle's HELD UP, while not SF, is hilarious and awesome. I'm sort of cracking through all the online Sony content Jamie Tarses was responsible for last year. So far, the only thing I can find wrong with her taste is that she dated Ryan Reynolds. COME ON; he's not going to settle down.
 
Only way you could get this to pay is product placement and then you'd just have a 2 hour car commercial or music video like most big movies.
 
Only way you could get this to pay is...

Naw, there's a million ways to fund something.

Robert Townsend: apply for all the credit cards you can and max them out to pay for your film, making it all a roulette wheel spin on your talent that it'll pay off or you go bankrupt.

Robert Rodriguez: Do it. Yourself. This is what I did. I spent fifty large on Astronauts in Trouble before I had anything to sell that I might make a penny on. All of this stuff is the World's Most Expensive Resume, anyway. If you don't believe in yourself, who will?

Michael Bay: shoot soft core for Playboy, giving you a reel that people won't mind watching, at least. Get paid.

Subway sandwiches: Doctors have to do something with their money.

Go to school; network. Do, or do not; there is no try.

This isn't aimed at you, Wes, but I'm a little tired of punk-ass kids crying that the world isn't served up to them on a silver platter. Newsflash, whiners. All the time you spend crying that you're not famous yet is time you could spend trying to make yourself famous.

Also: be careful what you wish for. Being "famous" is like being the World's Tallest Midget. All the other midgets think you're awesome, but you just look like a regular joe to people who don't care about what you do. And not everyone is going to care about what you do. Keep that in mind.
 
I agree that the do it yourself method seems like it would be the way to go. Admittedly, I really have no experience with film making, but I can't help but think that it need not be wildly expensive to make a decent flick. As I said before, there are some really nice fan films out there that have been made on slim budgets.


"Only way you could get this to pay is product placement and then you'd just have a 2 hour car commercial or music video like most big movies."

You are absolutely right, especially with today's audiences, but these films are most likely done for the art more than anything. They definitely won't bring in ridiculous profits, I don't think they are going to be able to compete in that way for quite some time. But can they be successful as far as creating a good story, creating something that is visually appealing, and develop a strong fan following? I say most definitely.
 
Would you say that it takes about a day to produce a single min of film?
That should give you some idea about the sort of time and money that needs to get invested in order to get a basic product.
Fantasy, sci-fi projects take much more.
 
You are absolutely right, especially with today's audiences...

Dear God, no he isn't, especially with today's audiences used to Kickstarter appeals and micropayments for doodads in Farmville and whatnot. There are a million ways to monetize your flicks after the fact and a million ways to fund it beforehand.

You just need a little elbow grease.
 
Yeah, I'm not denying that there are ways to monetize, but I can't help but infer from the folks who say it can't be done that they are picturing a large number. Micro payments, apps, iTunes/DVD sales, t-shirts, etc, while being helpful for the indie creators, probably wouldn't satisfy the others who are thinking big, and wouldn't pay off in the traditional sense.

My jab at today's audiences had more to do with the fact that even though people are increasingly going online to get their media, it is almost always media derived from Network TV and theaters. As much time as people spend on the internet, and as much content is viewed, there still doesn't seem to be a lot of exposure to the idea of independent online series/films.

I think opinions will differ depending on how big or small everyone is thinking, and what everyone's definition of success is, so what does everyone think it would take to pull something like this off? Like a 60 minute sci fi film. Nothing over the top, it's not the next Star Trek or Transformers. Would you feel successful if you broke even, or would you have to actually make a profit?

I'd feel like I had been successful so long as people enjoyed it. If by some stroke of luck I got a few hundred people as fans, I'd be happy.

I'd say that would be entirely possible if the creators properly networked and got their work out there. Look at The Guild. They are a perfect example of a successful webseries. They were broke after three episodes and their fanbase bailed them out. That's a good fanbase.
 
...so what does everyone think it would take to pull something like this off? Like a 60 minute sci fi film. Nothing over the top.

I usually like to encourage any type of creativity. It's a good idea you have there.
What would it take to pull off? Depends on how you deal with the following aspects.

How many actors? What sort of sets? Costumes? Lighting or natural?Cameras? Sound gear? Music? Editing gear? Dollys, Tripods? Scripts? Storyboards? Models? Props? general transportation and feeding your crew? Getting access to locations...
 
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Yeah, I'm not denying that there are ways to monetize, but I can't help but infer from the folks who say it can't be done that they are picturing a large number.

If you're really trying to get something going, why would you listen to folks who say it can't be done?
 
"If you're really trying to get something going, why would you listen to folks who say it can't be done?"

I wouldn't :) I absolutely think it can be done, especially for those who are creative enough to work within their means. But I think most are looking for a large amount up front and a large payout, which makes them question the feasibility beginning a project like this.

Blip, I know it depends on a variety of factors, perhaps I should have asked, if you guys were to do this, what would you do? How would you do it? What budget would you personally feel comfortable working within?

My thoughts on this, if a group of five or six buddies got together with like a grand each and planned it all out they could make something respectable. Assuming someone had a camera and tripod, created simple costumes, everyone made their props and models from cheap, readily available toys and other junk, and they used free software to put it all together. The budget could then be used to take care of everything else.

Maybe I'm overly optimistic regarding peoples creativity with a small budget.
 
I absolutely think it can be done...

So you should go do it, if that's what you want. There are so many variables that "the answer" is going to be different for everyone, so find your own answer.

It's like what I tell people who ask me how to break into comics: the answer is different for everyone. And, honestly, it's sort of like breaking out of prison: once somebody finds a way out, they close it up and you have to find another route for yourself. :lol

So unless this is another one of those Ourobouros social experiment threads where everyone worries over a rag that's been chewed already, you should get your five or six friends and their grand each and go do a flick and see what happens. Anonymous clowns on the Internet giving you advice aren't going to make your movie for you faster.
 
Dear God, no he isn't, especially with today's audiences used to Kickstarter appeals and micropayments for doodads in Farmville and whatnot. There are a million ways to monetize your flicks after the fact and a million ways to fund it beforehand.

You just need a little elbow grease.

Exactly what Larry says.
I used Kickstarter to get some basic funds for the movie project I'm working on right now, and once it's finished, there's a variety of options for what I can do with it both online and off.

No matter what you do, however, do not expect it to be "easy." Whether you have a budget or not, it is tremendously hard work to get anything made. Between funding, locations, actors, scheduling (my own personal hell), not to mention actually shooting and editing ... it's a difficult process to make anything worth watching, no matter what level your working at.
 
Blip, I know it depends on a variety of factors,
My thoughts on this, if a group of five or six buddies got together with like a grand each and planned it all out they could make something respectable. Assuming someone had a camera and tripod, created simple costumes, everyone made their props and models from cheap, readily available toys and other junk, and they used free software to put it all together. The budget could then be used to take care of everything else.

Now you're talking. Forget the money. All that free labour equates to a wad of cash. Here's the thing. A small five min short film should be your first project. Why? Because you will learn all the basic skills without a great investment of time effort and money.
I'm talking about obscure skills, like using gaffer tape to put marks on the ground, or how to direct people when they are tired at the end of a long day.

If I were you, I would make at least five shorter films before I made anything of great length. It could be a lot of fun.
 
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:lol I'm not personally doing a project guys, just talking in general terms. If I did anything it'd be an online comic.

I guess the point of the thread was to see what kind of stuff people would like to see the indie creators put out, or what has already been put out that others have enjoyed. It was just odd to me that in this day and age more independent films and series aren't being cranked out.
 
The basic answer to your question is that it takes a lot of energy time and passion to make internet content and a sane person would want some sort of return for that investment. Why on earth would creative people pour hours of thier lives into giving the masses of passive (not unlike the leech) internet content consumers a free ride.
 
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"Why on earth would creative people pour hours of thier lives into giving the masses of passive (not unlike the leech) internet content consumers a free ride."

I guess for the same reason anyone else pursues their passion/hobby, because they can and want to.

There are plenty of websites that are started by people every day for no reason other than to amuse themselves and a handful of friends, with no immediate return, which end up gaining a cult following. Perfect examples being machinima like Red Vs. Blue, or different webcomics like Explosm, XKCD, or The Oatmeal.


On another note, this short film was making its rounds on digg and reddit and whatnot a while back. Apparently only cost them 300 bucks to make, and it's not half bad.

YouTube - ‪Lazy Teenage Superheroes - Short Film‬‏
 
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